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Rapid Covid tests now available for Northumberland key workers

Click here to learn more about Targeted Community Testing in Northumberland.

Northumberland County Council is offering targeted community testing to key workers who are unable to work from home during the pandemic to help detect cases of Covid in people who are not showing any symptoms. 
Around one in three people who have coronavirus show no symptoms and could be spreading the virus without knowing. 
Regularly testing those who are at greater risk of contracting and spreading the virus will increase the likelihood of quickly identifying cases which would otherwise go undetected, helping to protect residents by breaking chains of transmission.  It will also help reduce the risk of workplace outbreaks. 
The Council is now offering booking slots to key workers who cannot work from home and do not have access to testing through their employer. In particular, testing will be offered to: 
  • Education or childcare settings including childminders, early years settings and nurseries. 
  • Carers (including informal carers, paid carers and those working for voluntary organisations) 
  • Small or local public or voluntary sector organisations e.g. food banks 
  • Small businesses providing key services e.g. waste management, taxi firms, public transport, funeral directors. 
  • Small businesses (less than 50 staff), sole traders or self-employed people  
  • Medium-sized local businesses (generally businesses between 50 – 250 staff) unable to practically access institutional testing. 
The tests are only available to eligible key workers who are not showing symptoms of Covid-19.  Testing sites are open at leisure centres in Ashington,  Alnwick and Hexham where Lateral Flow Tests (LFT) will be used which deliver the results within 30 minutes. Those being tested will then be informed of their result via either email or text by NHS Test and Trace - the tests must be pre-booked online – there are no walk-in slots. 
Liz Morgan, Director of Public Health at Northumberland County Council said:  
“Along with Test and Trace and the roll out of the vaccine, this testing programme will help identify hidden infections and is another tool that can be used to bring coronavirus back under control.”  
“We hope that key workers who do not have the option to work from home will take up this offer and do their bit to help protect their families, colleagues and the communities they work in.“ 
Anyone testing positive must immediately isolate at home, along with any close contacts. The targeted testing will work alongside the national test and trace system and any positive tests will link to the NHS contact tracing system.  
Northumberland County Councillor Richard Dodd, Cabinet member with responsibility for public health said: “This targeted testing will contribute to the work we’re doing to try and maintain the reduction in case numbers by identifying people without symptoms who may be infectious earlier. 
"It doesn’t remove or replace the need for everyone to continue with hygiene and social distancing measures – Remember, Hands, Face, Space.  We all play a vital role in fighting this pandemic.” 
Frontline employees who are not showing any symptoms of Covid and who wish to take up the offer of free testing with Northumberland County Council can book a test online here.
Testing sites are open at:  
Ashington Leisure Centre, Lintonville Terrace, Ashington, NE63 9JY 
Willowburn Leisure Centre, Willowburn Avenue, Alnwick, NE66 2JH 
Wentworth  Leisure Centre, Wentworth Place,  Hexham, NE46 3PD 
The testing centres are open Monday and Thursday, 9am - 7pm, and Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 9am - 5pm.

A testing site in Berwick will also be opening on Thursday 25 February 2021:
Berwick Childrens Centre, Ladywell Place, Tweedmouth, Berwick-upon-Tweed, TD15 2AE
This site will open Monday and Tuesday, 9am - 4pm (closed between 12pm - 1pm) and Thursday and Friday, 1pm - 4pm.
This week the Government also announced the introduction of an employer led testing programme and is offering free lateral flow testing kits to businesses with over 50 employees. These should only be carried out on employees who are symptom free. 
Businesses with over 50 employees can order free Covid-19 lateral flow testing kits here. 
If you do have a high temperature, a new or continuous cough, or a loss or change to your senses of taste or smell, you should book a test here.

Click here to learn more about Targeted Community Testing in Northumberland.

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